The E-Reuse Network is a collaboration initiative for device repair businesses, electronics recyclers, PC refurbishers, and ITADs, along with the organizations that supply these companies with industry-related solutions and services. ServiceCentral supports the reuse, repair, and refurbishment of electronic devices through the RMA process and trade-in tools within our applications.
As part of our Earth Month celebration, we sat down with ERS President, Sarah Kim, to chat about how she got started and what she’s doing to further the reuse movement.
The E-Reuse Network is on a mission to help businesses operate more efficiently and save money. Sarah Kim’s passion for reusing electronics started in 1997 when her father started fixing computers in the basement of their family home.. “We were sponsoring a local high school student and found out that he didn’t have a computer at home,” said Kim. Even at that time, student access to computers was crucial to their success. Kim’s father called a friend who worked for a local garbage company and arranged to pick up a “room-full” of discarded computers to refurbish them and get them into the hands of local students in need.
In 2017 Sarah started her own consulting company that focuses on connecting organizations through ERC, ERN, and some individual consulting services. “There really was no place in the industry where companies could go to learn about and connect with different vendors. ERN put together this network of vendors arranging for referral discounts to be passed on directly to clients to bring the repair, reuse, and refurbishing community together,” said Kim. The goal is to help people reuse as much as possible and we depend on our members to tell us who should be included in the network. We’re always looking to add more vendors to the site.
The annual E-Reuse Conference is critical to forming these connections and promoting reuse. It’s also another way the organization reduces their footprint in waste. Eliminating printed show guides, using glass cups and silverware instead of paper, and working directly with hotels to do composting allowed us to put on an industry-leading event that was still sustainability-focused.
We talked with Sarah about the steps we can all take to minimize e-waste and why it’s so important to properly dispose of electronic waste and she had the following advice.
What would be your advice to end users who are seeking to minimize their e-waste footprint?
Be creative and reuse as much material in your house as you can. The key is not to let your devices sit in the closet or in the basement at home. The pandemic has forced people to get creative, to start using unused devices for different purposes like schoolwork or to stay in touch with family or friends through video. These old devices can help you connect more and help you draw healthy lines between work and home allowing you to have a separate personal device so you can step away from work while you are at home. Of course, if you have a broken electronic device, the best thing to do is to take it to your local repair shop. And, if you no longer need it, be sure to take it to a certified electronics recycler.
What’s so bad about throwing an old phone or tablet in the trash?
We call them focus materials. Focus materials are in electronics and are harmful to people and the planet. By throwing them away you’re putting yourself, others, and the planet at risk. By recycling them responsibly, you’re making sure our natural resources are preserved and that they’re being handled properly so that they’re no longer harmful.
Are there any steps you take in your own life to reduce your carbon footprint?
A few years ago I installed solar panels on my roof in downtown Chicago. This year I’m looking into composting services. Living sustainably has become a way of life but we can always do better.
Sarah is the Director of Marketing for ServiceCentral. In her role, she focuses on creating engaging content and optimizing its delivery to reach people interested in repair and reverse logistics. In her life outside the office, Sarah loves to bass fish and spend time with her two daughters.